Friday, July 22, 2011

My Old House: Fireplace Renovation Edition

Just because the ole' blog is silent does not mean the hammers haven't been swingin' around Casa de Tarleton.  Oh, no.  Since the fall we have added a fireplace, added a bathroom, created a family room where there was not one before, painted diamonds on the walls and stripes on the floors, started a bang-up little library/music room, and dreamed up a thousand more changes to come.

I just really stink at taking pictures.  And then I have nothing pretty to show you and you have to listen to me ramble in the dark, and who wants to do that?

So here is a little story-- with photos-- I like to call How Half Our Party Became Ill at Dinner on New Year's Eve And I Got a New Fireplace Because of It.
Here is an old shot of our living room-- I hated, hated, HATED this cabinet.  Several owners back there was a fellow who fancied himself a carpenter-- we have spent a boatload ripping out and patching over all his "handiwork."  Our front door opens directly into the living room, so this is what you saw when you walked it. 

We knew this cabinet was covering the original hearth bricks-- somebody at some point in the last 80 years decided to convert the central chimney into a closet, leaving all the remnants of the fireplace behind. 
 Wise, they were, those who came before us.

We headed out to dinner with friends on New Year's Eve-- gussied up, having a grand time, very happy to be out without offspring.  And then, suddenly, half the people at the table became violently ill and we called it a night at 11 pm.

And so, instead of dragging around groggy and hungover listless the next morning, we awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and raring for a challenge-- and decided a little home improvement was in order.

Cue this song for your listening enjoyment.

And after a little bit of hammer, a little bit of pry-bar, we had a whole lotta s#*t on our hands.

Exhibit A:

So that's what that cabinet was hiding. 

I said some bad words.

(We knew there was something fireplace related back there before we began ripping things out-- we just thought it was less--scary.  The original plan was to reveal the original firebox/hearth and rebuilt the mantle. 

I called our trusty carpenter, who hurried right over and turned it into this:

(PS-- I have grown weary of those chairs.  They are for sale.  Lemme know if you want them.)

Much better. 
I chose the tile during what was probably the most stressful 24 hour period of my adult life, with children screaming at me all the while.  In hindsight, I wish I'd gone with slate. 
But anyway.

After 'while, I called Parra back and handed him this picture from LONNY.
(Hey!  I need that rug, too!
And why did I get scared off by the hideous faux wood-grain technique on the exact table at a thrift store last week and pass on it?  Dummy.)

And he handed me this:
Not bad, huh?  We put in a ventless gas fireplace--I wasn't nuts about the idea to begin with, but I LOVE being able to push a button and start a fire in the winter.  Many hours of snuggling have been done before it.
We created a small den/family room just off this room, with a wood-burning fireplace (which we never use because it is a flippin' lot of effort) and so we have the best of both worlds.  Those chairs from yesterday's post would look totally fab on either side of it, right? 

And that, my friends, is how NOT to renovate Your Old House. 


Rene said...

Isn't it crazy what some people think looks good?! I mean why would you ever build a cabinet over a fireplace. It is beautiful now.

Lacey said...

turned out amazing. at least your project is ACTUALLY finished...

Nolan Anderson said...

So far, so good. Even if you don't have the fireplace installed, the whole room will still be spiffy enough for everyone to enjoy. But it's a nice move to use a gas fireplace instead of the traditional ones. It'll be easy to clean.

Randell Jeffries said...

Your fireplace looks way much better than that huge cabinet that used to cover it. The cabinet seemed so bulky and took up a lot of space. It was weird that the previous owners decided to waste the fireplace during their time. I love spending time by a warm and cozy fireplace, I think your fireplace achieved just that. I love the seats that you got too!

Randell Jeffries

Kayce Church said...

Your new fireplace looks great! It suits your lounge area very well. The former owners of the house wasted a really good fireplace by placing a huge cabinet to cover it. I really don’t get why they even did that. Anyway, at least you’re now enjoying having one.

Kayce Church